Alonso feels pole could have been possible without overboost issue

Fernando Alonso will start his first Indy 500 from the middle of the second row - Credit: David Yowe / IndyCar

Fernando Alonso secured an excellent fifth on the grid for his first Indianapolis 500 but felt he could have challenged for pole position had it not been for an overboost problem on his #29 McLaren Honda Andretti machine.

The Spaniard, who is skipping the Monaco Grand Prix in order to make his debut at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway, set a four-lap average of 231.300mph to qualify in the middle of the second row, and did so after his mechanics did a precautionary engine change in between morning practice and his qualifying effort.

The overboost problem cost him some momentum down the front straight, and without that problem, Alonso believes that he could and should have been higher up the grid than fifth, perhaps even at the very top of the timing screens.

“I think today the car was better than yesterday with the balance after the malfunction in this morning’s practice,” said Alonso. “Unfortunately on Lap 2, we had an overboost problem in the last corner so hitting the brakes out of the corner, I think I lost a little bit of speed into the main straight. But it’s the way it is – nothing you can change now.

“The guys had to change the engine in record time, in an hour and a half. I’m happy to be here qualifying. I think we could have easily been fighting for the pole today if we didn’t have that problem.

“At the end of the day, as long as you secure the top nine, it doesn’t really make a huge difference for the race.”